For what it’s worth, I try to call once a week, but I usually actually call about 3 times a month.
Mom’s are pretty special and mine is no exception. She’s as full of commentary and her wry sense of ‘right’ in the world as ever, but, in the past year or so it seems she’s found herself finding out that some of the things she always took for granted, may not always be 100% true.
That gives me hope, as odd as it sounds, that we continue to learn, if we stay open to it, as long as we live.
There are seven of us kids in all, and I’m sure we call, or send cards with varying frequency… I’d guess the younger ones, in the midst of raising their own families are often hard pressed to find time, at a reasonable hour, to make the call. I know we all rally to her aid though, when ever there’s reason to, (like during her heart surgery last December) although, with only a couple of exceptions, in the 50+ years I’ve known the woman she’s been amazingly self reliant.
I wonder though, about the younger folks these days, if they hold their folks in the same regard my siblings and I held (or hold) ours?
I don’t think so. While the way we are was the ‘rule’ (I think) for folks of my generation, it seems to me, the current generation did not pick up that trait. Maybe we didn’t teach it to them? Maybe it’s a cultural thing? That there’s been a shift there somehow?
All of the young folks I know, with rare exception, once they’re out from the nest, rarely look back. They call when it’s convenient, find excuses to not attend family functions, and, when they do attend, are often the first to leave. My personal favorite excuse… “I had an emergency and didn’t have my cell phone, or I would have called” These same kids, are never, and I mean never, without their phone.
I see the hurt that causes to the parents, even when their lips are saying “He/She is just so busy” their eyes tell the true story. The true story is, parents, miss their children.
Maybe I was blessed in growing up in a small town, with a fairly close knit extended family, and that my parents had a lot of contact with their folks, so I just assumed it was the normal thing. Maybe it was just the normal thing in the small town I grew up in… maybe; our family was an exception, rather than the rule? I guess I’ll never really know that answer.
What I do see today though is a distancing of children from their parents that I didn’t see with my hometown friends, or my siblings.
If what I think I’m seeing is true… well, I feel sorry for these kids. Sorry they’re missing out on the great learning experience I had. I’ve said before that once I got into my mid-20’s my relationship with my Mom and Dad got really, really good. We could talk about anything; they gave advice, insight really, and stopped giving ‘orders’… They became more of a mentor in those years… I’ve wondered hundreds of times where my life would have gone without his, and my Mom’s advice.
My parents made a lot of mistakes, most of them with me, and my sister Kathy. We were the eldest boy and girl, they were learning on us. Maybe I understand that because I saw how much better they got with my younger siblings. I know I didn’t understand much prior to age 19, especially about being an adult, let alone a parent, and all the pressures and responsibilities that went with it.
I really didn’t like my parents as I was growing up, they seemed intent on “ruining my life” as I saw it, and, could not understand for the life of me, why they just couldn’t see things my way. I know I enlisted to get away from their oppression, in retrospect had I known what I know now… they had nothing on the drill instructors… no that was oppression!
Somehow, at some point, I got over feeling that way and started seeing all the good they had actually done me.
Today, when some 20 something who’s been ‘on their own’ for several years starts telling me how ‘rough they had it’ growing up, and how their parents ruined their life… I often stop them and ask... “so who’s been making the decisions in your life for say, the past five years?” They invariably answer that “they have”... to which I always respond with… “then if you’re unhappy, right now, you have no one to blame… but yourself.”
So thanks Mom, for passing on your amazing self reliance… for instilling in me a sense that I’m responsible for my life, and my actions… no one else, me. In short, for giving me the building blocks for life. Sure, you made mistakes, but somehow, along the way… “you did real good”.
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